<< Home

Jane Harris - Work


The Solitary Ecstatic
4’15” 2014

A visual manifestation of the text version of The Solitary Ecstatic proposal.

Indomitable Figure
5’18” 2013

Bertha Mason, as she appears in Jane Eyre, is anything but an indomitable figure. More of a literary device than a character, our first and and most affective impression of her is through her laugh, ‘...a clamorous peal that seemed to wake an echo in every lonely chamber.’ (Bronte 1859/42) By the time we are presented with the woman herself, more beast than person, she is the epitome of the hysterical female subject. What if Jane’s voice is taken away and the story re-told by Bertha.

Using the 1943 film version of Jane Eyre, with Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles, the vast majority of the footage has been cut, leaving only the silent, affective moments.

Voicing the Gaze
7’5” 2012

In my writing I had been exploring the idea of using my voice, my writing, to place myself between the language of the author and the text that ensues. Not to appropriate, but to employ the author’s ‘linguistic tics’ (Barthes). Click here to read Textual Labour.

I wanted to pursue this visually; to take footage of three writers being interviewed and remove their voices and replace with my voice, but again, employing their linguistic tics. However, there was another dimension, which I had not anticipated and which was not a factor in the writing; that of the gaze. The gaze of the writer, my own gaze and that of the viewer. Something strange happened when I took their voices away which was not just about language; it was the collision between the object voice and the object gaze.

The object gaze being that which returns our gaze, but does not look at us and we see ourselves as strange (Brousse), and the object voice as that which answers an address by the Other (Zizek). The convergence of the two becomes the blind spot. The subject is reduced to object.

However, there was a problem. My voice, the uncanny ‘spectral voice’ addressing the writers’ Other, became personal, I could not help it. The voice tipped over into jouissance, pleasure...bliss. There are glimspes of the blind spot in the film, but they are fleeting, like the nuance, but essentially it was missed.

This is not a problem. I am happy with a glimpse:

‘It is intermittence, as psychoanalysis has so rightly stated, which is erotic; it is this flash itself which seduces.’ (Barthes)

Frozen Moments
Animation, 3’5” 2012

This animation was made for a screening to celebrate the closure of Tegel Airport in Berlin.
As with I, laser printed extracts of text have been scanned and animated.

The texts are extracts from both novels and theoretical works, not directly related to each other but all with concerns of self, temporality, utopia (and by association, dystopia) and language. Although one text immediately follows the next, they are not designed to be in conversation, rather, they represent an exchange.

When I travel by air, in order to arrive airside, I have to affirm who I am by showing my passport, proving that I exist. State prescribed information (date of birth, national insurance number, address, photograph, previous travel), is factual but isolated. Similarly, all texts quoted are formally referenced and credited but, as with the passport, lacking context are open to misinterpretation and reinterpretation.

Animation as a medium reflects and represents the frozen moment I experience when I am airside. A series of captured, fragmented instances that make up a whole. Both animation and air travel rely on a strict adherence and acknowledgement to and of time. The irony is that both have the ability to distort and even suspend our awareness of time passing.

Animation, 1’2” 2012

This is the ‘frozen moment’ I refer to in my statement, a moment of intensity, agitation and suspension. Animation represents both the pause (as in the individual frame) and the temporality (duration of the final film) of the moment.

The phrase, ‘I cannot fuck the text but still it gives me bliss’, is an appropriation of Roland Barthes’s language in The Pleasure of the Text (1975) which is explored in more detail in ‘Textual Ecstasy’;

Click here to read Textual Ecstasy

Textual Porn
4’33” 2011

I was frustrated with painting as a means to try and express immanence and affect; it seemed too laden with signification. The work I was reading (see bibliography) was resonating more than the work I was looking at; not because of what they were saying but because of how they were saying it.

Language, text, literature and their limitations and possibilities have as much, if not more impact than images. By taking sentences in isolation, out of context, heavily edited and emptying them of their extra-textuality, new meanings and readings appear.

The Work is both rhythmic and performative, the idea being to lull, hypnotise and even confuse the audience, through layers or folds. I wanted the viewer to come away wondering what the fuck just happened. Not to have enjoyed but to have been affected.



Textual Ecstasy

Johnny & Roland

The Ecstatic Body



Untitled Animation, 5040 frames

Laser print on paper paper, 2012

5040 sheets of A4 paper, 420 of which have text printed on them. Each sheet represents the frames of an animation 3.5 minutes long. As it stands, it is a work in its own right, but as was always intended, I went on to make the animation with the scanned images of the sheets of printed text. Click here to see the finished animation, ‘I’.


Johnny & Roland (Part 2)

Projection & luminous paint, 150 x 200cm, 2011

In response to being advised to ‘take my work out of the computer’, I projected the first line of the song San Quentin onto a white wall painted with luminous paint where the text would fall. It was not a resolved piece of work and I see it very much as the start of something that attempts to connect the analogue with the digital. As a future piece I envisage spending more time on the painting; picking out the individual pixels with better quality phosphorescent paint. Nevertheless, my key themes of the frozen moment and duration/temporality are present. Click Click here to see Johnny & Roland (Part 1).


My Body Without Organs

Wax & steel wire, 172 x 110cm, 2011

I had been casting limbs with the idea of incorporating them into paintings, but having just finished After Velazquez, I was interested in continuing with the image of the Crucifixion. Ironically, although this was an attempt to use the limbs in a more resolved manner, by ‘staging’ them, they lose their uncanny property and thus their power.


After Velazquez

Oil on Canvas, 55 x 50cm, 2011

The head thrown back is an explicit reference to Bernini’s Ecstasy of St Teresa (1647-1652) and the subject matter of the Crucifix is a response to the affect/effect that the exhibition, The Sacred Made Real (2009, National Gallery) had on me, as well as a growing interest in Georges Bataille and his ‘writing of sacrifice’. The loin cloth is a copy of the loin cloth in Velazquez’s Christ on the Cross (early 1630’s).



Textual Labour Dissertation (pdf)

Textual Ecstasy (pdf)

To the Mad Bitch (pdf)